I think the world of the world.
- from The Geographic Ponderings of Hebert Flabeau
I had been in the north for a month when the Gangreen incident took place. I still knew my name - Hebert Flabeau. Last time I checked my I. D. I was me, I'd muse whenever I wondered. But fate had delivered me to a neighborhood of Destitution City, so poor, it couldn't afford a postal code. I needed some income desperately. I'd always wanted to be filthy rich, but so far, I'd only gotten the first part. I had forgotten what money was - I'd begun to think that cash was a hut you put moose meat in over the winter, and the word dollar must be a dead, or at least crippled, Latin noun.
For a while, I coped. I may be penniless, but that's nothing - the Czar of Russia was Nicholas. However, as time wore on, I became depressed by my economic state; my face was growing long. Confirmation of the length of my countenance came the afternoon prior to the fateful day in focus when a near-sighted parts man had mistaken it for a hubcap. Then, by early light of the following morning, my mug was mistaken for a no parking sign by a large trucker, named Bull Gangreen, who cursed me as I gaped at him with my arms wrapped around an accommodating birch tree. Not that it mattered - I didn't need his kind on my social roster anyway.
Bull Gangreen hailed from Bigotte, Alberta. He was so big when he was born, the doctor was afraid to slap him. He was the kind of guy who hated cats and birds. "Too damn noisy," he'd seethe, as he padded his pillow with fresh feathers. He also hated any woman who had her clothes on. His wife was trying to divorce him for coming home too often.
On this particular morning, Bull had stumbled out of bed, wolfed down the neighbor's Persian, and blustered down to the bank to withdraw his life savings to invest in a fledgling firm, Diabolics Nouveau Inc., that trafficked in a compendium of electronic mutilation devices.
And as fate would have it, the only vacant parking spot by the bank was next to where I was engaged in morning embrace with sister tree and, when I saw the peculiar beast-man pull up, I couldn't resist shifting into my coyote cloak of reckless curiosity. I just stood there, gaping. I gaped away with abandon, open-mouthed, wide-eyed, brows locked in upright position.
Of course my indulgence was quick to trigger Gangreen.
"Goddamn tree-hugger! - how'd you like me to tie your windpipe in a reef knot?"
"Please, by all means!" I chortled.
"Whaaat!?" roared the incredulous trucker, "You some kind of wise guy?"
Before revealing my response, it's important for the reader to know that I, Hebert Flabeau, was wanted in seven emotional states for driving my karma recklessly.
"Well, yes, hopefully," I parried, loading on extra crow sauce. "I mean, if God created an odd specimen like me, He also would've thrown in a few brains for balance. On the other hand, I don't know how to explain you - you're both bizarre and stupid, so that kind of blows my theory, doesn't it?"
Foam immediately spewed from the mouth of the three hundred-and-twenty pound gorilla. I could see nuclear clouds billowing in his bloodshot eyes. As Bull's neck turned a brilliant shade of scarlet, vehicles at the nearby crossroads swerved and screeched in the confusion resulting from the simultaneous glow of red and green traffic lights. Two feelings invaded my soul - terror, as it dawned on me that in the next instant my life would surely end, and regret, as I thought how I'd only just topped the gas tank in my old beater.
Lucky for me, there are times when fate can play a hand. For it was at that moment that a stolen cement truck came charging up Main Street, an eleven-year-old at the wheel having the time of his life. When the youngster came upon the intersection of hysteria he did not know what a brake was. Naturally, there was nothing he could do but bounce onto the sidewalk and barrel over the charging Bull who, utterly intent on the kill, was oblivious to what hit him.
Bull Gangreen's remains were picked up with a sponge mop and cremated a few days later.
I was not invited to the cremation, but attended anyway.
I brought a bag of marshmallows.